LANDBANK lends P39.9B to small farmers, fishers in first half of 2018

Monday, September 10, 2018

Pacifico Cordada Jr., hailed as this year’s Ulirang Magsasaka, visiting his corn and pineapple farms.

 “Disability is not a hindrance to succeed in life.”

This is what Pacifico Cordada Jr would always say when asked how he managed to provide a comfortable life for his family through farming. He also once served as a municipal councilor and currently leads a cooperative – despite his disability.

One of his arms and legs were underdeveloped as a result of contracting polio when he was just two years old. Born to a family of farmers, farming was the practical path Pacifico, who only finished high school, chose to pursue, albeit his condition made it extra challenging.

Through farming, Pacifico was able to send his three children, now professionals, through college and the other two who are still in school. He now owns 25 hectares of land which he plants with pineapple, another 50 hectares planted with corn, two land tractors, and six hauling trucks.

Pacifico also chairs Laconon 100 Multi-Purpose Cooperative wherein he is able to help fellow pineapple farmers, especially Indigenous Peoples, to maximize the potential of their lands. All of these earned for Pacifico this year’s Ulirang Magsasaka award in the recently held LANDBANK Gawad sa Pinakatanging Kooperatiba (Gawad PITAK) as part of the Bank’s 55th anniversary celebration.

Pacifico is just one of the thousands of small farmers and fishers across the country that LANDBANK supports through its various loan programs especially designed for their needs.

Para sa mga kagaya kong magsasaka, lagi kong sinasabing huwag kayong mawalan ng pag-asa dahil nariyan ang LANDBANK na walang pinipiling tinutulungan,” Pacifico said.

LANDBANK’s outstanding loans to the sector reached P40 billion as of end-June 2018. Meanwhile, loan releases from January to June of this year reached P26.8 billion which benefited 274,255 small farmers and fishers nationwide.

“We are continuously stepping up our efforts to reach more farmers and fishers through our programs that seek to address their needs. Agriculture is at the very core of LANDBANK’s being, so our commitment is to go where our farmers are and give them the assistance they need,” LANDBANK President and CEO Alex V. Buenaventura said.

LANDBANK courses its credit support to the sector through conduits such as farmers and fishers cooperatives, countryside financial institutions, and irrigators’ associations. However, in line with its commitment to reach more farmers and fishers, the Bank also has direct lending programs which it continuously strengthens to serve those who are not members of accredited cooperatives and organizations and unable to avail of loans from formal lending institutions on their own.

 

SIKAT SAKA Program

One of LANDBANK’s direct lending facilities is the Sikat Saka program, a joint program of LANDBANK and the Department of Agriculture (DA), which provides direct credit to small palay and corn farmers who are members of irrigators associations and/or endorsed by farmers organizations.

From January to June 2018, LANDBANK has released total loans amounting to P957.4 million under the program. Cumulative loan releases under Sikat Saka has reached P7.6 billion since the program started, benefiting a total of 19,615 farmer-borrowers.

The Sikat Saka Program offers integrated support services to the farmer-beneficiaries in terms of free irrigation services, market support, and crop insurance subsidy, which improves the viability of palay and corn projects. They are also trained on credit discipline and financial management to teach them how to save, pay loans on time, and better manage their finances.

 

EMBRACE

In 2016, LANDBANK also launched a lending facility to address financing needs of farmers, fishers, micro and small enterprises in unserved areas in the country.

Dubbed as EMBRACE or Empowering Barangays in Remote Areas through Credit and Enterprises, the program has more relaxed features and requirements, and lower interest rates for farmers to engage in projects like agricultural crop, livestock, and fishery production; as well as agri-enterprise and other livelihood activities.

During the first half of the year, LANDBANK has already released P1.6 million in loans while cumulative releases reached P7.8 million since the program was launched two years ago.

On its 55th year, LANDBANK continues to beef up these retail lending programs and designing new ones in pursuit of its commitment to provide greater financial and technical support to more farmers and fishers across the country.

LANDBANK remains the biggest credit provider to small farmers and fishers and local government units, and the biggest lender to microenterprises and SMEs among government financial institutions.